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Journal Key:

Green = Steve | George = navy | Janet = Purple | Evelyn = Black


1/7/10 (Thursday)

The other day, when I picked Cara up, she showed me a picture she had drawn. It was a blue horizontal line with many blue lined coming down from it, ending in blue boxes. At one end of the line were some . . .antennae? The other end ran off the page, and there was another page with a continuation of that blue line. It turned out that it was a picture of a bike. Some day she would finish it and put the pages together.

Today, there was another page of bike, clearly all the middle of the bike, as there were no handlebars. There was another blank page designated for further continuation. I suggested that she might leave them at preschool to finish tomorrow, but she wanted to bring them home and finish them. This meant that we had to find the first two pages. I kind of assumed that I'd recycled them, but it turned out that they were on Cara's table. Nothing, of course, has been done with them.

Just to recognize momentous firsts: This evening I taught Cara how to pull strings of cheese off of a cheese stick.

She can open a cheese stick herself, using her "mighty muscles." So I taught her about alliteration. I'm sure that took. Yesterday I taught her about deafness, since we were watching a video of a woman signing as she sang a song. This morning, Steve taught Cara about cable and satellite TV; they spent their ride to preschool spotting dishes.

1/9/10 (Saturday)

Apparently Cara was a little tired and down when Grandmama picked her up yesterday, and that is partly, I suppose, why the two of them ended up at Target buying some new Polly Pocket toys. They got some cool things, chief of which is a beauty parlor. It has a chair with a dome-shaped hair drier attached. Cara explains that, when you take the drier off, it becomes a potty. The drier becomes a "work hat"!

A sequence of events that I allowed to unfold at ten thirty this morning:

Cara: I think I want to watch some tv.

Me: Well, maybe you can later.

Cara: Yes, maybe after lunch.

Me: OK.

(thirty seconds pass)

Cara: Mommy, I think I want to have some lunch . . . now.

Me: It's ten thirty. How about a snack?

Cara: OK, Mommy.

(Cara eats a graham cracker, persisting in referring to it as a "late lunch.")

Cara: That was a good late lunch. Now I think I'll watch some tv.

So I let her.

After our real lunch, we waited for Aunt Claire to get here. Cara was very very happy that Aunt Claire was coming to draw with her. She wanted Aunt Claire to draw with her. Aunt Claire was going to draw with her. I suggested that while Aunt Claire would certainly draw with her, Aunt Claire might also want to spend some time not drawing. She might want to do some other things. Cara conceded that "Aunt Claire can have a cup of tea while she draws with me."

Cara was not excited this morning when I got out and proposed putting on The Life of Birds. Grandmama, who was up to paint, told her it was very much like the monkey movie they have at their house. Cara still wasn't sure. It started, though, and she was entranced. I'd thought we'd have it on as background, mainly, while she played with other things, but she really watched a good deal of it. She saw, though, that there were five tapes in the box, and she very much wanted to put another one in. As in, put another one in right now, instead of this one we are watching. We resisted. Ironically, this evening, when the potentially disturbing meat-eating one started and it looked like that would be the last part Cara saw before bed, Cara was very much against my idea of switching to "Fishing for a Living." We talked her into it, and it was, of course, very successful.

I can't remember if we've mentioned yet that Cara has constructed a "bed" next to her real bed in her room. It is made out of her Elmo fold-out couch, which she unfolded but inverted and covered with a blanket. On the first evening of its creation, Cara announced that she was going to sleep in this bed instead of in her real bed. I was emphatically against this plan. At Evie's suggestion, however, we left Cara with the choice of which bed to use after we left her for the night, and in the end good sense prevailed and she slept in her own bed. However this evening Cara decided that her created bed is "For my baby brother, in case he wants to sleep with me in my room."

We did our bathtime and bedtime routine tonight with Aunt Claire in attendance. It was amazing to me how smoothly our routine went with Claire looking on, and how little the child dawdled or complained. She was thrilled at every step: "Time to brush my teeth! Yay!!" It went excellent well. Now, however, Aunt Claire is hanging around while Cara gets read If I Ran the Circus. This did not start out quite so smoothly, because the child was loudly having a wonderful time to the extent that she could not possibly hear the story. Evie got her to be quiet and then continued reading. There were a few seconds of silence from the child, then:

"Mommy! Mommy!"

[Mommy stops reading again.] "Yes, Cara?"

"I'm being quiet."

For the record, Cara's noisiness consisted of helpfully pointing out all parts of the pictures on the pages that were pink. There were quite a few. After I asked her to tone things down, she continued to point them out, just less noisily. Hence her claim of being quiet. After that, I managed somehow to convince her to just listen. It's really one of my favorite books.

1/10/10 (Sunday)

I admit that I cringed this afternoon when Cara decided that she wanted to play play doh. We got it out, though, and it turns out that Cara has become far, far more independent than she was last time I did this with her. She can take the stuff out of the container herself, roll it out with a rolling pin herself, and use an extruder herself! It makes life far more pleasant. She had two girls with her who really wanted to mash things. Cara made a big pile of "pasta" which Cinderella gleefully sat in. She also made each girl a nice flat surface for a body print. The highlight, in my book, was when she used the play doh to make dresses and shoes for the girls. They looked like very brightly colored cave people.

We spent the evening doing puzzles, which Cara is also very good at. When we did her states puzzle, she eagerly planned on doing Florida and Texas first. She also, oddly, was able to recognize Georgia, possibly because, as she pointed out, it starts with a G and possibly because of the peaches. We worked on a few other states, and I think I confused her utterly by explaining how some letters, such as C, make two different sounds. Probably I should have left well enough alone!

1/11/10 (Monday)

I'm very proud because Cara is clearly going to grow up to be a compulsive organizer. She has devised a "car mitten" system. In the morning, in Steve's car, she puts on her car mittens. She wears them into preschool, and when she and Steve go upstairs to hang up her coat she takes them off and hands them to him. He returns them to the back seat of his car. It works! Her mittens used to just all accumulate at preschool.

Cara was very tired this evening. When we got home from ballet, she bounced up the stairs to see Daddy and then scampered upstairs to change clothes, which she accomplished with much jumping, some rolling around, and some more bouncing. "Mommy," she said, "I'm just so tired!" Then she raced out of the room and down the stairs to eat. I hauled myself up and slowly followed, to hear her explaining to Steve that I was still upstairs, just lying there. During dinner, towards the end when things were wrapping up, she began to get up to dance around between bites. "Daddy, I'm pooped!" she sighed. She took another Brussels sprout and hopped up to bounce in the out of the living room and twirl around her chair.

1/12/10 (Tuesday)

This morning in the car I explained to Cara that Mommy had an appointment in the evening and that her and I would be hanging out while Mommy was gone. Cara tried hard to turn this into me picking her up from preschool, but sadly it was not to be. I got home at a fairly reasonable time, we had a quick dinner, and then it was Cara and I. After I washed up, we got out the girls and played "ball" with them. At first I surmised that the girls might want to throw around a beach ball. But no, they all had to get their hair done and get into dresses so that they could go to The Ball.

Cara was very strict about the sequence of events. First each girl was specially matched to her dress. Then they each had to get their hair done before they could get dressed. I managed to circumvent the sequence with one girl whom I had already gotten into a particularly difficult dress, but whose hair had not been done yet. I cleverly wrapped her outfit in paper so that it would not get messed up by the hair machine.

I'm not sure if those girls would have ever gotten to The Ball if it had been only Cara's job. Eventually I systematically got all of their hair done in a quick push, and then worked hard to dress them all. But more girls kept appearing, each needing a new dress. Meanwhile, Cara was wandering around with Ariel, who apparently had a day job as an astronomer (Cara claimed that she did things having to do with Pluto) in which she got to wear very short shorts and high heels. Ariel was very late getting to the beauty parlor, but she did get into a dress before bath time.

Cara was very independent in her bath tonight. When Mommy called on the phone and I was away from the bathroom for a couple of minutes, Cara nicely scrubbed herself with her poof. After I was done washing her, I took a quick trip to the bathroom and when I came back she had drained the water, gotten out of her tub and wrapped herself in her towel! I was very proud.

The child apparently tried to read herself Amelia Bedelia last night. Since she can't read, the only real upshot was that the paper sleeve around it ended up in the bathroom in the morning, and tonight Mommy is reading it to her now.

1/13/10 (Wednesday)

I got to preschool very late today to get Cara, but a story was being read. I got to go upstairs by myself to get all of her things, and then I got to wait around for The Gingerbread Girl to finish. It seemed like a good story. It was long! Another mom, in the same holding pattern, also got to wait.

Cara was tired. "Mom," she said, "I just wish I could have a nap on a staying-home day!" I explained to her what happens when we try to give her naps on staying-home days. She assures me that, next time, she'll just stay in her bed.

In spite of being tired, Cara helped me make dinner. She's very considerate of me right now, because of the baby. She is nice to me because I'm tired, and she makes sure not to jostle or put pressure on my belly. Tonight was Cara's best night of cooking. She got the carrots out of the fridge, put the steamer into a pot, put the carrots in, put the lid on, and put it on the stove. She put the asparagus into another pot. She set the table. She helped stir the ravioli. While we waited for the water to return to a boil, Cara told me that maybe when she's big she'll be a chef. She'll make ravioli.

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